Puppy Food

Can you give me some advice on the best puppy foods?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – I am so confused about puppy foods. The Breeder Recommended Purina Puppy Chow – then the Vet recommended something called Medical from Hills. Then I went to a dog show and bought some organic kibble – now I am being told that you have to be very careful as dog food is not regulated, etc. etc. I am terrified.

Judith Hayes


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote that you find puppy food recommendations confusing.

You are exactly right. Many times, breeders have some very strong recommendations that differ from what veterinarian’s recommendations for puppy foods. It can be very confusing to new puppy owners. The fact that pet food is not well regulated adds concern and doubt to recommendations on both ends.

Much of the recommendations for puppy food are subjective. Everyone has his or her preferences.

To be honest – it is probably like this: Many people have different food or diet recommendations for their own diets and often for other people’s diet. For example, some people are vegetarians; some like low carbohydrate diets, some like health foods, some are vegans, etc. You get the picture? What works for one person often causes them to recommend it to their friends and relatives. One person may be a vegan and recommend that diet to other people. They all may be okay but some diets may actually be healthier than others. Breeders often recommend very specific foods because of their experience but may not be the food that your veterinarians believes is best.

Veterinarians know a lot about good nutrition and problems that bad nutrition causes. They also know the benefits of good nutrition. Most veterinarians recommend good quality premium foods such as Hills Science Diet, Iams, Eukanuba or even Purina. The healthiest puppies are fed a premium quality food formulated for puppies (and that is AAFCO approved).

You talk to 5 breeders and they may all recommend different foods. It is true pet food companies are not regulated which is why many veterinarians believe in the premium quality name brands.

An article that might be helpful to you is Nutrition in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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